Cheapest Composite Decking – Is It Worth It?

A zoomed in photograph of a light gray composite deck. Across the top are the words, "Cheapest Composite Decking - Is It Worth It?" In the lower center of the image is a cartoon woman wearing a green top scratching her chin in a thoughtful manner in front of a graph showing cost and time.

Composite decking has become a popular choice for building decks, thanks to its durability and low maintenance features.

In fact, the market for this product is projected to grow at an annual rate of 11.2% over the next decade. But with the initial investment being higher than wood, it’s no surprise that most people are wondering if even the cheapest composite decking is value for money.

Generally, I think that cheap composite decking isn’t worth it. Most cheap composites feature low-quality materials that are more likely to scratch and fade. However, a few brands produce decent, yet affordable composites that last.

Read on for a rundown of the problems of using cheap decking and insights into a few reliable brands when you need affordable composites.

Risks of Using the Cheapest Composite Decking

Unless you’ve done some research and established that the cheap composite decking you’re about to buy comes from a reputable brand, I highly advise against buying cheap boards. Here are a few risks of cheaping out on decking:

The Decking May Not Last Long

A light gray composite deck outside a home with blue siding and white window frames. In the bottom left of the image is a calendar icon with a clock face in the corner, and in the bottom right is a cartoon woman with ginger hair and wearing a green top with yellow question marks by her head.
Not all composite decks will last the same length of time and remain in good condition. Ensure you select a reputable brand with a proven track record. to avoid disappointment.

The reason composite deckings exist is to enable you to add a decent, durable aesthetic to your outdoor space.

When you buy cheap boards, you miss the crucial ingredients that make decking more durable, such as rot and moisture resistance. Besides, cheap boards may scratch easily, hurting your investment’s durability.

The Decking May Be Costly To Maintain

Another gripe I have with cheap boards is that maintaining them can be costly. These composites get damaged easily, especially when scratched. And as I’ll point out later, some may even appear worn out when you buy them.

In such instances, you may need to apply special sealants or paint them to maintain their look, all of which adds to your maintenance costs.

Cheap Decking Can Be an Eyesore

Since it tends to scratch easily, cheap composite decking can lose its aesthetic appeal quickly, ruining your design.

This is disappointing and can cost you in repairs.

Caveat: These are just my general observations of what happens when you buy cheap composites. A few reputable brands offer decent and affordable composite deckings, so be sure to check previous reviews for insights into the pros and cons of the available options.

Remember, not all cheap boards are bad, and vice-versa!

Is Composite Worth the Price?

A beautiful brown elevated composite deck is used as an outdoor eating area with circular tables with a parasol and ornate chairs. The edge of the deck is enclosed with white railings and the whole area overlooks manicured lawns. In the lower right corner of the photograph is a red price tag icon with a white dollar sign on it and red question marks above.
Composite decking is more expensive than basic natural wood decking, but it lasts longer and needs less maintenance, meaning it can work out cheaper in the long run.

Before I get to some of the cheapest composite decking brands, let’s first answer a crucial question: is composite decking worth the extra cost?

In general, composite decking is worth the price. Composite is less likely to rot and outlasts wood. Besides, the material is low maintenance, reducing expenses in the long run.

Composite is made of a combination of materials, such as wood fibers and plastic bonded with a resin (such as epoxy). As a result, the material has the properties you need for keeping your garden deck in tip-top shape, such as:

  • Rot resistance
  • Durability
  • Resistance to insect damage
  • Resistance to fading and scratching

In a nutshell, good quality composite is a great choice if you need a durable and eco-friendly alternative to wood. And if you need to learn more about this type of decking, check outComposite Decking-What Is It And Is It Better Than Wood?” You’ll gain insights into how this decking is made and how it compares to natural wood.

Cheap Composite Decking Options Worth Considering

Due to its reliability and more complicated manufacturing process, composite is generally more expensive than wood decking. However, several brands offer entry-level boards for customers who need cheaper options. Here are a few examples:

TimberTech

A photograph of TimberTech decking in direct sunlight. There is a stone fireplace structure with seating around it and white railings. The decking boards are light gray, which helps reflect the sun's heat.
It’s best to use lighter colored decking boards for situations where the deck will be exposed to intense sunlight. This helps to keep the area cooler and avoid the boards themselves from heating up so much. Image courtesy of The AZEK Company Inc. and its affiliates.

TimberTech produces some of the best polymer-based composites on the market. As the company mentions on its website, its decking doesn’t contain wood fibers, which makes it manufactured completely from advanced materials.

That said, TimberTech decking is aesthetically pleasing and lasts longer than other cheap materials. However, these boards may scratch easily, so you must apply a sealer to ensure they last.

NewTechWood

NewTechWood offers some of the best composites on the market. As you can see in this review, most customers find NewTechWood’s composite decking visually appealing. Besides, the composites come in different colors and designs that can blend well with your home’s aesthetic.

However, that doesn’t mean the composites are flawless. Some customers have complained that NewTechWood’s products require more maintenance than wood, which can be disappointing.

However, I think you can avoid that by researching the different options this brand offers and picking the most suitable composite for your needs.

Trex

Trex Enhance decking in a beautiful natural wood-like finish. There is a white railing around the edge and patio furniture with black metal frames and cream-colored cushions. There is a lake with a jetty and trees in the background.
Trex Enhance decking. Image courtesy of Trex Company, Inc.

Trex is a reputable composite decking brand. The company offers composites in different colors and styles. Besides, you can use Trex’s Deck Design software for free, allowing you to handpick the design that suits your outdoor spaces best.

While Trex’s composites are generally affordable, their fasteners may disappoint. Besides, some customers have reported that they received composites that appear worn out, which can be a deal-breaker.

Veranda

Veranda is another composite decking brand with budget-friendly options. The manufacturer (Fiberon) offers a 25-year warranty on Veranda deckings, a solid statement that these products last.

While Veranda’s composites last, finding a decking that suits your taste can be a hassle since they often come in brown or gray. Besides, they’re mostly available at Home Depot, so you must live where they deliver to get your composite.

DuraLife Decking

DuraLife Decking can make any outdoor space pleasing to the eyes. The brand’s composite decking features a natural wood tone that blends with most exterior designs.

The brand’s 25-year warranty covers you in case the composite fades or gets stains, a sure testament that cheap doesn’t have to mean poor quality. However, like Veranda, DuraLife Decking offers limited color choices.

Deckorators

Deckorators offers various composite styles and colors, leaving you spoiled for choice. Their boards include mineral-based and wood-plastic composites that beat traditional wood decking in terms of appearance and durability.

Like most composites, Deckorator boards last for decades and require little maintenance.

However, finding the brand’s products can be a hassle. Deckorators only allows selected dealers and wholesalers to sell their products.

How Much Should I Pay for a Composite Deck?

A worker uses a drill to install a composite deck. He has gray hair and wearsglasses, a beige cap, a light blue T-shirt and beige shorts. He is kneeling on the deck while working. In the bottom right of the photograph is a fan of green dollars.
The cheapest composite decking might cost the least to install, but will you pay more for installation? Check out our table of prices for different brands.

On average, you should expect to pay $5,700 for a composite deck. A typical deck costs $4 – S16 per foot (30.5 cm), although prices vary between brands. In addition, ensure you factor in labor and permit costs.

When researching how much you should pay for composites, ensure you compare different brands. That way, you can identify the brand that meets your needs and budget. Here’s a quick table to help you get started:

BrandAverage Price Per Square Foot (929 sq cm)
NewTechWood$10 – 30
Trex$5 – 12
TimberTech$19 – 23
Veranda$4 – 5
DuraLife Decking$7 – 10
Deckorators$9 – 10

The Bottom Line

Sprucing up your outdoor deck can be a hassle, especially if you use traditional wood. With composite decking, you can rest assured of a durable and low-maintenance fix. However, not all composites are created equal!

Most cheap composite deckings are easy to damage and may wear out faster, so it’s best to only buy budget-friendly options from reputable brands with longer warranties. That way, you can be assured you’re protected from manufacturer defects.

If you’d like more information about synthetic wood decking, take a look at our article that covers the different types synthetic decking that are available and the pros and cons of each.

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